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See through the clamor of battle

Laze the ground and locate enemies
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It is possible, by shining a light on a surface and watching the return, to see how noisy it is. (if it's a hard surface you can listen, but this idea doesn't need that level of fidelity)

This laser system would shine an array of lasers onto the ground and detect vibrations. A computer would filter out universal ones and parse the vibrations to draw vectors to the origins and detect what some of those origins are. Short-term vibrations, such as from an explosion, could be filtered out or recognized by recognizing their short-termidness. Universal vibrations (such as from the wind) could be filtered out by recognizing their universality. A great deal of calculus would then process the remaining ones. It's unlikely to be sensitive enough to detect a foot-fall, but an artillery or machine gun emplacement repeatedly firing would easily be detectable, as would a moving tank or truck. Until now this hasn't been possible simply due to the noise of battle involving so many wave-forms. But modern GPUs are up to the task.

edit: Not necessarily aircraft-borne.

Voice, May 18 2020

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       Noise is your problem, its everywhere. In electronics just room temperature makes things vibrate uncomfortably and generate some terrible hissing on things like amplifiers. Some military tech cools sensors with liquid nitrogen to minimise the noise.   

       Lasers though are generally quite hot so your source material is difficult to work with. Roughly speaking one part in a million is going to be thermal noise and will bury most useful data.   

       [ ] Its not the noise of battle you need to worry about, but the Brownian motion of electrons.
bigsleep, May 19 2020
  

       This doesn't look like it will be very squaddie-proof ....   

       Besides, simple acoustic transducers will do exactly the same thing without recourse to lasers.   

       But the problem is the noise floor; so much random, local noise that more distant sources can't be discriminated. A little research on the problems of seismometry will disclose most of the issues.
8th of 7, May 19 2020
  

       //seismometry//   

       Why? What size is your mom? %-)   

       Even if you could get this to work, it could be easily defeated by some pretty simple random vibration shaker tables, off-balance engines, etc.
RayfordSteele, May 19 2020
  

       Hehe. Putting the science in yo mama jokes.   

       Q: What is the science behind yo mama jokes ?
A: Seismometry
  

       That joke is so good its christmas cracker worthy.
bigsleep, May 20 2020
  
      
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